As a clinic, The LodeStone Center endorses and follows the guidelines set forth by the American Psychological Association to expand psychology’s role in advancing health and in decreasing health disparities for the LGBT community.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning populations experience unique health disparities. Rather than lumping all of the need of these individuals into one umbrella term, it is important to recognize that each category represents its own distinct populations with unique concerns. Also, within these categories are sub-populations that form based on race, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, etc. The goal at The LodeStone Center is to respect each individual’s specific and unique needs as they seek care from our clinic.
WHAT ARE SOME REASONS THE LGBT COMMUNITY MAY SEEK MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES?
Mental health is a crucial component to overall health and wellness. Each person experiences emotional ups and downs throughout life. For the LGBT community, there is often an added layer of challenge due to prejudice, stigma, or biases. There can be stressors about an individual coming out regarding sexual orientation or gender identity.
According to the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), the LGBT community is three times more likely to experience mental health concerns such as Major Depression or Generalized Anxiety Disorder. NAMI goes on to report that there are higher rates of substance abuse in the LGBT community (20-30%) when compared to the general population (9%). Similarly reported, the LGBT community is at higher risk for suicide due to lack of support from peers, harassment, and mental health conditions.
More information from NAMI can be found at:
TIPS FOR TALKING WITH YOUR PROVIDER:
- Ask your provider if they are comfortable working with the LGBT community.
- If you are comfortable, communicate your sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or questions about your orientation or gender to your provider.
- Be honest about anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and substance abuse. Your provider is there to support you on your journey to wellness and health. They are there to help and not to judge.
- Ask your provider for needed referrals or for help finding a support group. Even if your provider does not have that information their self, often times they are connected to other providers who do have access to needed information.
Here in McHenry county, there is a local chapter of the national group PFLAG. Their website states that , “PFLAG (Parents, families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) celebrates diversity and envisions a society that embraces everyone, including those of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.”
Parents of Transgender McHenry
Meets the FIRST Monday at 7:00 pm
Tree of Life Unitarian Church
5603 W Bull Valley Rd
McHenry, IL 60050
Also at this location:
Meetings the SECOND Tuesday at 7:00 pm
We are fortunate to have a resource like Howard Brown within driving distance of McHenry County. Their website states that, “Howard Brown Health was founded in 1974 and is now one of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ) organizations. With an annual budget of over $22 million, the agency serves more than 18,000 adults and youth each year in its diverse health and social service delivery system focused around seven major programmatic divisions: primary medical care, behavioral health, research, HIV/STI prevention, youth services, elder services, and community initiatives. Howard Brown serves men and women, infants, youth, and children through a multi-site operation based in Chicago.”
Written By: Michelle Bidwell, Psy.D.
Edited By: Lindsey Traudt, LCPC